“Like a bee trapped for life in the closing of the sweet flower,
Mira has offered herself to her Lord.
She says, the single Lotus will swallow you whole.”
From the vantage point of a local Krispy Kreme Donuts outlet, I will attempt to describe the nature of the structure in which we seem to appear, since awakening to this structure (like enjoying a properly prepared cup of coffee) just might be the closest thing to genuine Illumination this side of fresh cream-stuffed chocolate éclairs.
The ultimate Reality or Truth is the transcendental Source, eternal bliss, prior to all pastry preferences and sugar cravings. That unspeakably radiant field of pure love energy is paradoxically both motionless and yet dynamic, expressing Itself as an infinitely modifying process of numberless kinds of manifest Play, even prior to the advent of commercially mass-produced confections.
In that Play, self-consciousness arises in each specific process or apparent entity, not unlike a mysterious donut craving. As it so happens, this self-consciousness within the dynamic Play of existence cannot know or experience the Absolute over against itself. The Divine is a unity, which both transcends the dynamic Play, while also appearing to pervade it and even to be it. Therefore, to realize the Divine, individual beings must transcend their manifest forms, or their independent existence in the Play, even to the point of outshining the delectable cream-filled varieties of themselves.
The Absolute does not appear as such to the independent conscious entities within the Play, like a cheery Krispy Kreme cashier smiling at the check-out counter, while we fuss with donut boxes in one hand and wallets in the other. Rather, the ultimate Reality seems to be the perfect background of pregnant Silence, Aware Spaciousness, against which the universal drama of all arising and dissolving phenomena play out in the busy kitchen of eternity.
The apparent entities intuit the transparent Clear Light of Awareness through their own fundamental consciousness, which (combined with the Life Force) seems to be their essential or central condition of existence. Therefore, they may feel that the Absolute is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. Nevertheless, in the din of the bakery, all of the phenomena of experience (even apple fritters and crullers) distract the entities and seem to bind them to an illusion of separation.
Thus, the Divine appears to have divided Itself, becoming consciousness on the one hand, and dynamic, functional manifestation on the other. But, in truth, Reality is One, and this self-division in Source is only a spun-sugar fantasy, created by the presumption on the part of the entities that they are independently existing in a world of experience, separated from the eternal position of transcendental Unity, or inherent bliss, and doomed to the destiny of soggy bear claws and stale coffee abandoned on the burner.
The multitude of living beings, like candy-colored clowns, become convinced of their independence by virtue of the distracting power of manifest experience — the enticing aromas from life’s ovens that seem to promise some delightful satisfaction, but only end up disappointing with a case of sugar blues. Thus, experience continues, reinforcing the illusion of independence, separation from the Clear Light of Awareness, and repetitive dunking in the artificial food flavorings of phenomena.
Entities thus develop desires and tendencies of all kinds – an endless search for some perfect Baker’s Dozen — which trap them into automatic and uninspected association with continued experience. They are launched on an assembly-line tour of possibility, but in that process, the Bliss of Nirvana is replaced by inherent suffering, or self-possession, and even extra sprinkles yield no lasting joy.
Therefore, as experience develops, so also does the profound sense of bewilderment, despair, and the feeling of entrapment. The entity feels that it is an independent, conscious being with form in a temporal-spatial matrix, and that it is necessarily associated with experiential phenomena, even to the point of low blood sugar.
Happiness seems to require continued experience and improvement of experience — more donuts! The Real, or Source, is considered either to be unattainably interior to the world, or else to be the distant resolution of the world.
Such is the puzzle or dilemma of consciousness in the case of manifest individual entities, or souls manifesting in an endless waiting line, expecting to have their order someday filled. The manifest soul, or entity, is an apparently independent consciousness (the manifest expression of the Divine Ignorance, or Pure Delusion), smothered by the peculiar frosting of an unsweetened body-mind, and placed on a tray of infinite relations (the manifest modifications of Divine Shine).
The only true “solution” to this dilemma is an Awakening that inherently transcends every aspect or condition of the dilemma. Thus, the manifest soul must awaken to the Recognition that it’s true nature and identity is always already free of all conditions of experience, prior to the Play. Then all phenomena and every gesture of recoil from phenomena and toward self-contraction are dissolved in Communion with the Divine to the point of Liberation from all apparent wrappers or boxed containment.
Here at last, nothing is strategically excluded or included, nor may it be claimed that the soul is either the same as Source or separate from Source. There is only the paradox of Source, the Divine Reality, Nirvana beyond and yet inclusive of all the illusions of separation and suffering, of chocolate or vanilla – a tasty treat that’s ready to eat once we ourselves have been swallowed whole!
“I am this world, and I eat this world.
Who knows this, knows.”
~ Taittiriya Upanishad